Sullivan, Evelin E.

ISBN 10: 0916583392 / ISBN 13: 9780916583392
Published by Elmwood Park, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, (1988.) dj, 1988
From Bookfever, IOBA (Volk & Iiams) (Ione, CA, U.S.A.)

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SIGNED hardcover first edition - First printing. The author's very unusual first published novel, written in the form of a literary biography, the story of a successful novelist whose career comes to an end when he is convicted of a grisly crime. In addition to the biographer's fusty, yet vivid, account, this includes a second account by the novelist himself, written as a parody of a detective story. INSCRIBED on the front endpaper "For --- with fond memories of our shared flight to Los Angeles" and dated in 1989. Chronology. 315 pp. Very good in very good dust jacket. Bookseller Inventory # 57610

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Bibliographic Details


Publisher: Elmwood Park, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, (1988.) dj

Publication Date: 1988

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


In this dazzling debut, Evelin E. Sullivan has written a novel in the form of a literary biography that will permanently color the way we read biographies. Charles Butler, a smug and slightly comical Professor of English, sets out to write the life of novelist Gregory Horace Bodamien: his poverty stricken childhood in England, his formative years at a Southern university, his eventual literary (and sexual) successes, and the grisly crime that brings his career to a halt.
Interviewing Bodamien in his prison cell, Butler learns of Gregory's English father, hounded by failure into insanity; his strong American mother, who kept the family together; his older brother Adam, a talented but heartless surgeon; Elizabeth, whom Gregory courts only to lose her to Adam; and Lizzy, the daughter, claimed by both brothers, whose untimely end precipitates the final crisis.

While vividly unfolding this fascinating life, Butler indulges in occasional autobiographical digressions, brief and apt at first but gradually revealing a tormented soul whose "objective" account of Bodamien's life must therefore be reconsidered by the reader. Yet another account of that life is offered by the manuscript Gregory leaves behind, "The Case of the Dead Magician". Begun as a parody of the detective novel, the tantalizing fragment shows stylistic incongruities that track the author's attempt to tell his own version of his troubled end. In addition to exploring in his story his brother's murder and reinventing the past, the novelist also makes outrageous use of his biographer, with hilarious and disturbing consequences.


"An intelligent and ambitious work." -- Washington Post Book World 1-7-90

"Evelin E. Sullivan's novel The Dead Magician parodies the genres of biography and fiction with unerring gamesmanship; her caricatures of our century's innumerable overworked stylistic and methodological tricks kill these forms of literary inflation with a most-favored weapon: humor." -- American Book Review Nov-Dec 90

"Evelin Sullivan is a daring, adventurous writer who works in a luminous, compelling prose." -- Gilbert Sorrentino

"Evelin Sullivan's fancy prose style has been compared to Nabokov's before, and . . . it will be again." -- New York Times Book Review

"The Dead Magician leaves the reader with some serious, enduring questionswhat is the relationship between a biographer's personal life and the character portrait he presents? Can any individual know another through the lens of biography? But it's also a great deal of fun. Sullivan's novel is appealing on both an intellectual and emotional level. Butler is charming, but a nerd; erudite, but filled with self-pity; arrogant, but humorous. . . . You're sure to enjoy a novel that inaugurates a career begun with clat." -- Standford Daily 12-6-89

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Store Description - the name used by Volk and Iiams, Booksellers- specializes in first editions of twentieth century literature, with an emphasis on women authors, African American, Native American and Latin American authors - plus mystery & detective fiction, science fiction & fantasy, poetry and children's & illustrated books. We try to offer many uncommon books, and have a large selection of first books, and books by authors who are less frequently collected. Of the approximately 50,000 volumes in stock, the majority are hardcover first editions, although we also stock vintage science fiction paperbacks as well as sf digests and pulps. We also have a large selection of books signed by the author and uncorrected proof copies. Less than 50% of our stock is catalogued, so please inquire if you are searching for specific titles. Selling books by mail order and on the internet since 1993. We have a large booth dedicated to books (called Books Upstairs) at the Antiques Upstairs Mall, 5 Main Street, Jackson, CA. (open every day from 10-5) The emphasis there is on Western Americana, children¿s books and inexpensive reading copies. In 1998 we relocated our main business from Sacramento to the Sierra foothills of Amador County, about 35 miles east of downtown Sacramento and between Ione & Sutter Creek. There, on 10 acres of rolling oak-covered hills, we built a ¿bookhouse¿ for our books. When we are there, we welcome visitors by appointment (call 209-274-6960 or, in the US only, toll free at 1-877-bookfev or contact us by email Our web page is Traditional bookseller grading used - fine is our highest grade (an "A"), very good is above average (a "B), good is average (a "C"). All significant flaws are described; dust jackets are protected by archival covers, and books are packed carefully for shipping. We welcome questions by email or phone.

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Terms of Sale: is a partnership between Christine Volk and Eugene Iiams, Booksellers. Our mailing address is PO Box 696, Ione CA 95640 USA. Our store is located at 5 Main Street, Jackson, CA 95642 USA. Email: Phone: 209-274-6960. We accept Mastercard, Visa AMEX, Discover, checks or Paypal, whichever is most convenient for customers. Please contact us if you have any questions, or want to confirm availability. All dustjackets are in archival mylar covers, and books are packed ...

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